Mainebiz reports UMaine part of statewide hub for PPE production

Mainebiz reported the University of Maine is part of a statewide production hub for personal protective equipment for health care workers. The team operates under the Maine Emergency Management Agency and includes UMaine, the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership, MaineHealth, St. Joseph Hospital, Northern Light Health, Manufacturers Association of Maine and Maine Procurement Technical Assistance Center, according to the article. As of late April, production has included 2,800 gallons of hand sanitizer, distributed to 51 hospitals and other health-related facilities; hundreds of intubation boxes and hundreds of thousands of face shields. Initially focusing on hospital-grade hand sanitizer, UMaine’s Process Development Center and chemical and biomedical engineering faculty used existing supplies and Food and Drug Administration guidelines to produce 25 gallons, Mainebiz reported. The team evaluates evolving health care guidance and hospital practices, along with tightening supply chains, and provides a continual conduit of information to manufacturers, said Jake Ward, UMaine’s vice president for innovation and economic development. “A lot of our faculty have pretty active and longstanding interactions with folks in health care,” said Michael Mason, a professor of chemical and biomedical engineering at UMaine. Researchers in UMaine’s chemical and biomedical engineering department have evaluated sterilization technologies and techniques, conducted scientific literature searches on the performance and effectiveness of techniques, and documented protocols of other hospitals and medical users, according to the article. And the Advanced Manufacturing Center at UMaine worked with hospitals to develop prototypes of intubation boxes and face shields.